GENERAL EDUCATION COMMITTEE MINUTES, 12/2/15 CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL Members present: L. Ametsbichler, S. Bradford, M Cracolice, R. Fanning, C. Greenfield, T. Ravas, K. Reiser, C. Smith G. Weix Ex-officio members present: B. French, N. Lindsay Members Absent/ Excused: J. Galloway, J. Hickman, T. Shearer Guests: Iva Croft (Chair), Kate Shanley (Advisor) – Native American student advisory council COMMUNICATION The correspondence from Professor Shearer (appended) from the General Education Advising Conversation were informative. Iva Croft and Kate Shanley from the Native American Student Advisory Council were welcomed to the committee. They were invited to join the discussion regarding the possible revision of the Indigenous and Global Perspective. The Council is concerned that the University is not in compliance with the constitutional mandate for Indian Education for all. The possibility of a floating add-on was briefly discussed. The Office of Public Instruction has created essential understandings that courses should meet. Professor Shanley cautioned the committee in considering a requirement that would turn the Native American Studies Department into a service department for Indian Education for all with large sections of Introduction to Native American Studies. BUSINESS ITEMS The committee discussed the proposed revisions and eventually approved the language below. Group X. Cultural & International Studies This perspective instills knowledge of diverse cultures in comparative and thematic frameworks. Students are encouraged to cultivate ways of thinking that foster an understanding of the complexities of indigenous or international cultures and global issues, past and present. These courses foster an appreciation for diverse cultures, their histories and values, and their struggles both to maintain their ways of life and to gain equal positions in world spheres of power and change. Upon completion of a course in this group, students will: 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the diverse ways humans structure their social, political, and cultural lives; 2. Interpret human activities, ideas, and institutions with reference to diverse cultural, historical and geo-political perspectives and physical environments; 3. Recognize the complexities of inter-cultural and international communications and collaborative endeavors, and relate this to the complex challenges of citizenship in the 21st century, both their own and that of others. Chair Reiser presented the General Education Consent Agenda to ASCRC yesterday. It did not approve EDLD 486 as a symbolic systems course. It was not in favor of the 400 level, or a graduate program course fulfilling a general education requirement. Upon further investigation it was discovered that EDU 421 Statistical Procedures in Education was approved during the last review. This is the same course. Health and Human Performance students can use the course to satisfy symbolic systems. The videos and notes from the conference on Defining a 21st Century Education for a Vibrant Democracy are now available. The President and the Provost support dialogue on general education reform. They have invited the Faculty Senate to take up the issue. The Committee may have a series of listening sessions nest semester. There is a need to synergize the existing fragmented program. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 p.m. RECAP OF GENERAL EDUCATION ADVISING CONVERSATION I met with the advising group on Wednesday, November 25, to report on Gen Ed trends and to listen to the concerns of those present. In addition to advisors from the various departments, a few interested professors were also present. Here are the themes that emerged from the conversation. You are welcome to distribute them more broadly to the Gen Ed Committee. Upper division Gen Ed Courses. Several participants – especially from the Honors College, HHP, Biomedical sciences, and Geography – advocated for the inclusion of more upper division Gen Ed courses to accommodate students already familiar with material at the introductory level, in disciplines with heavy course requirements, and to allow for more complex thinking in the Gen Ed offerings. There was also concern expressed that transfer students have a hard time filling Gen Ed requirements at the lower levels if they do not come in with an associates degree. More perspectives. Some in the room advocated for adding more perspectives rather than removing some. Language exemption clarity. Some suggested the need for greater clarity about which departments have foreign language exemptions and which do not. Historical/cultural category. There was concern about that the “historical and cultural category” should just say history if labeling the X designation as a cultural designation. Optional perspective. At least one participant floated the idea of allowing students to chose one perspective to be optional. Others felt this would make the current system even more complex. Creative writing. Some students are confused about creative writing classes and think that they count for the writing requirement. On-line gen ed courses. A common sentiment around the room is that we need more on-line Gen Ed courses. Shakespeare class. One participant said it would be an excellent idea to get a Shakespeare class at a lower level. False dichotomy. In a more philosophical vein, one participant emphasized the false dichotomy of liberal arts requirement being pitted against job force requirements when in fact the liberal arts prepare people very well for the job force.